n South African Journal of Business Management - What it means to succeed : personal perceptions of career success held by senior managers

Volume 45, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2078-5585


This research describes the findings of a qualitative study which analyses how senior managers conceptualise and experience career success for themselves. A non-probability voluntary sample of 24 senior managers, using objective career success criteria, was selected from two international financial institutions located in Johannesburg. This research study entailed semi-structured in-depth interviews that were digitally voice recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using content analysis. In exploring career success from the perspective of the individual (i.e. the senior manager) and not the organisation, the research attempts to fill the gap in the career literature. Findings demonstrate that although senior managers have general conceptualisations of what career success entail, they have unique personal meanings which they associate with their own career success (e.g. being associated with successful business brands, receiving feedback and recognition and adding value to the organisation). Senior managers also have specific goals set for their future in terms of careers (e.g. owning your own business venture, embracing new opportunities and investing in the community). Talent retention is particularly important among senior managers. Thus, in order to retain them as valuable employees, it is crucial to address and fulfil their career needs accordingly.

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